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Wesley Clark’s Candidacy

We should always be prepared to be surprised in politics, yet, somehow, we never are. Gen. Wesley Clark’s entry into the Democratic campaign is very significant. The crop of nine dry-as-dust candidates have been nuked. The only one that will surive is Howard Dean, and he may not. It’s a new world for the Democrats, and I am confident that they are all losing sleep (as well as many staffers who will have shifted to Clark). This is a terrifying time for them. Except for Dean, they have not been able to engage the imagination of Democrats. Their petty poll numbers, and the lack of movement in those numbers, have been the scientific indication of an already well known fact: The nine are seen to be awkward, petty, slippery, and utterly uninspiring. The pudding has had no theme. Now it does. Clark has the authority that all of them have lacked. Furthermore, and this is no small point, it has become crystal clear in the last few days that Hillary and Bill are pushing Clark.

John Fund understands this. And, let’s face it, Bill Clinton is a giant among the current crop of pygmies. (In fact, there is no Democrat anywhere in the country that is anywhere near his equal. The only people who could have displaced his authority are Gore and Liebermann, and they failed). He dominates. Bill will continue to re-define the Democratic Party. He not only has the Party apparatus, now the candidate. And he is the one that can get the money. As John Fund notes, even if Clark doesn’t get elected president, Bush will not trounce him, as he would Dean. That will leave the Democratic Party in better shape for Hillary’s candidacy in 2008. And, in the unlikely case that Clark becomes president, the Clinton’s would be sitting in the front row. Even the New York Times story on Clark’s announcement understands something of the Clinton connection. I also understand that there are questions about Clark. Richard Cohen dwells on the fact that he is not likeable as a person: he is self-centered, brash, driven, hard on subordinates, and so on. He has no friends, so to speak. Well, Gore was no different, and he almost became president. But Gore wasn’t respected, and Clark is. That is sufficient, especially relative to Dean and the other eight, now, former Democratic candidates.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Query: How is "Hillary! 2008" helped by "Gen. Wesley Clark 2004"?

Something is rotten in Denmark!

Most plausible, though Machiavelian, theory (when the Clintons are involved, consulting "The Prince" is always appropriate) is that the "General" is a "stalking horse" for the "Queen". Should the polls indicate a vulnerable President Bush by the time of the DNC, with no clear 1st round nominee, do in part to Gen. Clark’s participation, Hillary! accepts a "convention draft", and names the good General her second-in-command.

"But Gore wasn’t respected, and Clark is."

Hmmm! While leading NATO, Gen. Clark’s (behind his back) nickname amongst the troops was "the Supreme Being". Shows he has loads of "gravitas", doesn’t it. If the "Hillary! stalking horse" scenario is wrong, the contrast between the ego-centric General and the humble President should make for an interesting in the 2004 "Main Event"! I have a colleague at work who served under him in the military and he tells me that the General starts most sentences with either "I", "me", or "my". He said within a few seconds of meeting "the Supreme Being" for the first time you will know that he graduated first his class at West Point, attended Oxford, etc.

I agree with Peter, as you can see in my NRO editorial today.

Do we believe the material Neil Lang referred to the other day on Clark and WACO? Whether we believe it or not, is there much of a chance that it will get mainstreamed?

"The term ’stalking horse’ has pretty much gone out of favor in American politics, although at one time it came up in almost every presidential cycle. Its decline has reflected the decline of the importance of party conventions. Here’s the Safire definition of a stalking horse: ’a decoy; a candidate put forward to split a vote or deadlock a convention, concealing another candidate’s plan.’

"Wesley Clark is a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton.

"That much is clear, but little else is. For example, there is the intriguing question of whether Clark knows he is a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton. It is entirely possible he is being duped into being a decoy. With no political experience, he would make an easy mark for a team of con artists as skilled as Hillary and Bill Clinton." From: Wes Clark: the stalking horse By: Jay Bryant

The "plot" thickens!

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